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Dubai Debt Delay Rattles Confidence in Gulf Borrowers

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Laura Cochrane and Tal Barak Harif
Bloomberg News
Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — Dubai is shaking investor confidence across the Persian Gulf after its proposal to delay debt payments risked triggering the biggest sovereign default since Argentina in 2001.

The cost of protecting government notes from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain rose, extending the steepest increase since February as Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, sought a “standstill” agreement from creditors. Bonds of its property unit, Nakheel PJSC, mature Dec. 14. Dubai contracts climbed 124 basis points to 564, the most since they began trading in January, adding to 122 yesterday, CMA Datavision prices showed.

(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)

Dubai Debt Delay Rattles Confidence in Gulf Borrowers 251109banner

“There is nothing investors dislike more than this kind of event,” said Norval Loftus, the head of convertible bonds and Islamic debt at Matrix Group Ltd. in London, which manages $2.5 billion of assets including Dubai credits. “The worst-case scenario will of course be involuntary restructuring on the Nakheel security that brings into question the entire nature of the sovereign support for various borrowers in the region.”

Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s cut the ratings on state companies yesterday, saying they may consider state-controlled Dubai World’s plan to delay debt payments a default. The sheikhdom, ruled by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, borrowed $80 billion in a four-year construction boom that reduced its reliance on falling oil supplies and created the region’s tourism and financial hub.

Full story here.

This article was posted: Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 7:25 am





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